My name is Ira Sutherland. Growing up among the tall trees of Vancouver, BC, early on I developed an appreciation of Earth’s beauty and a curiosity for how people interact with the environment. I explored extensively through the mountains of Vancouver, and travelled widely abroad, often by bicycle. Climbing over mountains, crawling through rainforest and swimming in the ocean has provided me with a deepening connection with nature. Following this interest, I undertook and recently completed seven years of study (a BSc at UBC and MSc at McGill) to become a forest scientist. Now I have a lens to observe the human-forest connection, and I enjoy sharing it. This hiking guide is to share my passion for nature exploration and discovering the secrets and stories that run around us
An aim of this guide is to develop a deeper understanding of forest ecology among readers, and specifically Vancouverites —comprising half of BC’s population— so that they may take greater interest and voting responsibility in the management of forests across BC.
My philosophy is partially inspired by the history of old-growth forest conservation in BC. A primary reason that we still have old-growth forests remaining in BC is that proactive individuals and organizations brought the beauty and importance of our province’s forests to the eyes and understanding of the public. Look at a map of BC, and note that nearly every large park is there due to efforts of a few individuals and organizations. I deeply respect the work of Randy Stoltmann, author of the seminal big tree guidebook, and groups such as the Wilderness Committee who brought the backwoods of BC to the public table for thought and discussion.
My aim is therefore to bring old-growth forests to the eyes of British Columbians through photos, film and instructions for them to visit. In my stories, find maps to the largest remaining trees as well as interpretation of the ecology, history and human values associated with these forests. I hope that you find this engaging and entertaining, and that it adds to your understanding and perspective of what once was and still perhaps is the Great Vancouver Forest.